Less than two months after a California judge eviscerated the unprecedented $179 million award that Bones executive producers and stars won in their long running profits participation legal clash with 21st Century Fox, Barry Josephson today added fraud to his claims against the now Disney-owned entity.
“TCFTV’s promise to Plaintiff that his MAGR (Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts) participation on the Series would be 12.5% of MAGR reducible to a ‘floor’ of 7.5% of MAGR was false when made, as TCFTV had no intention of honoring that floor and, on information and belief, always intended to reduce Plaintiff below that floor,” proclaimed the EP’s Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP attorneys on Wednesday, shaking up a expected to be staid status conference hearing in DTLA on the nearly four-year old suit with an amended complaint in the astringent matter.
Distinct from a direct appeal on Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard Rico’s May 2 tossing out of the $128 million in punitive damages that Josephson and the Bones gang were handed in a scorching February final order by arbitrator and former judge Peter Lichtman, the new-ish jury seeking move by the EP and his Hollywood heavyweight lawyers is an attempt to hit the reset button.
Acquiescing to the just over $50 million in non-punitive damages that stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz and EPs Kathy Reichs and ex-Tick boss Josephson received from Lichtman in his final award, the wide swinging Fox argued successfully to Judge Rico in the last round that punitive damages were never part of anyone’s deal and hence, can’t be and won’t be paid out.
More Hail Caesar and less Hail Mary, Dale Kinsella and crew clearly believe they’s chopped that Gordian Knot with the new fraud allegation in the perspective first amended complaint put forth today. With Fox putting up no objections, the proposed order for a FAC is almost 100% certain to be granted by Judge Rico. Earlier this morning, the Judge conferred in chambers with Kinsella’s Chad Fitzgerald, along with Deschanel, Boreanaz and Reichs’ lawyer John Berlinski of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP and defendants’ main attorney Daniel Petrocelli.
“In engaging in the misconduct alleged herein, TCFTV acted with malice, oppression, or fraud, and in willful disregard of Plaintiff’s rights and interests, thus entitling Plaintiff to an award of punitive damages in an amount appropriate to punish or make an example of TCFTV,” states the the extra $10 million dollar seeking FAC, which could also be subtitled: I’m gunning for my money!
Which means we could be deep into the next decade before this multi-million dollar dispute sees the dust, and the parties, settle. It is expected that Deschanel, Boreanaz and Reichs will be submitting new paperwork in the case in the near future too.
Disney/Fox did not respond to request for comment on today’s new complaint
Even before Bones concluded its 12-season run in March 2017, Josephson first filed his breach of contract and fraudulent inducement complaint on November 25, 2015 with a barrage against the “unrelenting” Fox for “underreporting” the finances of thr Hart Hanson-run series by hundreds of millions of dollars. Deschanel and Boreanaz threw down with their own lawsuit a mere five days later claiming they and Reichs had been “cheated out of more than $100 million in gross revenues and being overcharged many additional millions of dollars in alleged expenses.”
Five months later, on April 8 2016, the now consolidated cases saw Josephson and the actors take a beating as Judge Rico agreed with Fox’s reading of the contracts and threw most of the case behind closed doors to arbitration. As the self-dealing issues were being handled in private, the rest of the case was stayed – a detail that Josephson also now wants reassessed.
Of course, amidst all this courtroom and backroom fighting, a big slab of Fox was snagged by the Walt Disney Company for $71.3 billion, with the mega-merger closing in late March. Inheriting the Bones battle, House of Mouse boss Bob Iger found himself on February 27 having to defend the character of his new-ish executives Dana Walden and Peter Rice after they and ex-Fox TV chair Gary Newman were slammed by JAMS arbitrator Lichtman in his final award as having “given false testimony in an attempt to conceal their wrongful acts.” Overall, wth large swaths of the punitive damages part of the arbitrator’s final award now striken from the document, Iger’s Fox bauble was condemned for having a “company-wide culture and an accepted climate that enveloped an aversion for the truth.”
Expect to hear those statements a ton of a lot if this moves to appeal and the soon to be approved FAC moves ahead in LASC – a lot.